Tuesday, June 17, 2008

So much for the news...

Appearing in the news wasn't quite what I'd hoped for, in fact quite the opposite. I first approached Global TV to explain my story and introduce my website in hopes that they might run a story. Michelle Schurman replied to my e-mail indicating that she would love to talk to me about this… perhaps shoot a story and get the word out about my fundraising campaign. Well that strategy backfired thanks to Michelle Schurman. She did end up running a story however it did absolutely nothing to gain exposure for my fundraising campaign and as a matter of fact ended up creating more harm than good.

My website and fundraising campaign were nonexistent and at the same time she managed to paint a pretty negative picture of stem cell transplants and what they are doing in China. I now find it necessary to refute some of the claims made in the newscast. To begin with I’d like to know where she got her information regarding patients returning from China with major infections like meningitis. I belong to a Yahoo chat group focused solely on China stem cells and from hundreds of experiences I have not heard of one case of infection. I would suggest that a patient is more likely to come down with an infection from a Canadian hospital.

As documented in a CBC news report from May 31, 2007, every year 250,000 Canadians pick up infections while in hospitals being treated for something else. That's a staggering one out of every nine Canadians who are admitted to hospital. Every year those infections kill more than 8000 people. Many infections are started by bacteria within the hospital setting which can be found in disinfectants, respiratory equipment, food, sinks, taps and mops. It is spread from patient to patient on the hands of hospital personnel and by direct patient contact with contaminated items.

I have included some photos of the Hangzhou hospital where I will be admitted. It is a jewel of a hospital and well renowned for its exceptional quality of care. China is a country of more than 1,300,000,000 people; do you think they have a staffing problem for custodial duties or any other position for that matter?

The claim that the Chinese have not published in leading medical journals is cause for some skepticism. Let's face it, the Chinese do things differently but because they have not published in western medical journals does not mean that their research or documentation of that research is lacking in any way. In my opinion, we are falling behind the Chinese in many respects. It is expected that North American doctors cannot endorse this type of treatment as it is not proven and we all know how medical insurance and lawsuits influence that. However off the record I have asked doctors about the treatment and been told that in my shoes, why not try?

The claim that a lot of success stories may be chalked up to the placebo effect and that patients want the treatment to work so badly perhaps they could be imagining the effects. That is a very clinical and scientific statement to make, but not very accurate. I don't think two-year-old Tre Burgos from Florida is imagining his doctors tell his mother that his vision has gone from 20/1200 to 20/200. His mother states “it's just really amazing watching him see something for the first time”. There are so many documented success stories that to claim stem cell transplants don't work is obviously inaccurate.

Finally I’d like to clear up a beef with whoever coined the phrase “Stem Cell Tourism” and its implications. To equate traveling halfway around the world to find treatment for someone's debilitating, painful and sometimes life-threatening condition to taking a holiday is very insulting to me. Our journey is one of hope and help; it has nothing to do with taking a vacation.

Though this news story didn't turn out the way I wanted I will continue to try other media sources. Perhaps a different network, talk radio and newspapers; I'll continue to do anything I can to create exposure and spread the word about my cause. Those of you that are out there and reading this can help me too, please continue forwarding my website and spreading the word!

Thank you,

1 comment:

TK said...

Well spoken! Good for you and I hope the reporter reads what you wrote!